THE TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADER by Noel M. & Mary Anne Devanna Tichy


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There's not much question that American enterprise could use more inspired and inspiring leadership if it is to survive in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. Unfortunately, this text provides precious little in the way of substantive guidance on the subject of pace-setting. For openers, Tichy (Business Administration/Michigan) and Devanna (a staff member at Columbia's Management Institute) concede their advisories, based on a comparatively small sample, are less than conclusive. Equally disquieting is their tendency to treat common. sense as revelation: ""While most strong individuals make some enemies in the course of a career, the number of these should be limited or it will be difficult to accomplish a leadership agenda."" They also have a gagging fondness for buzzwords like ""creative destruction."" To them, transformational leadership is a disciplined, systematic process that yields worthwhile change. They liken purposeful conversion to a drama during which a star must carry the show during all three acts. These stages include: recognizing a need for revitalization; creating a new vision on which an organization's personnel can focus with enthusiasm; and ensuring continuity once the transformational leader has left the scene. Within this framework, they offer case studies of varying interest. There are some fresh faces (notably, Mary Anne Lawlor of Drake Business Schools) with novel perspectives, but overly familiar characters--Chrysler's Iacocca, GE's Welch--play many of the leading roles. Commendably, the authors do not claim their transformational-leadership scenario will result in either quick or painless fixes. Appreciably better choices exist, though, for those concerned with the ins and outs of being a good shepherd. Two superior possibilities from last year's list are Harold J. Leavitt's Corporate Pathfinders and Richard S. Sloma's The Turnaround Manager's Handbook.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Wiley